Dazed and Confused

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 1999

By LEE DRESSELHAUS / L’Observateur / March 3, 1999

So…..this evening my wife and I watched our 17-year-old daughter leave ona date with her latest boyfriend du jour, Zippy the Pinhead Boy. As theywalked to the car she held him firmly in a headlock to keep him from doing anything stupid, like trying to speak or count or something. (I stated in anearlier column that my kid likes her boyfriends tall and stupid, and boy would Darwin be thrilled with this one. He leaves no doubt that we aredirectly descended from hairy, illiterate tree dwellers). Anyway, as theyleft my wife turned to me and said, “Don’t you wish you were young again?” To which I can say, most emphatically, no I do not.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Youth has its advantages, like looks and healthand the absolute certainty that everyone over the age of 30 is a doddering fool. But I would rather pound a screw into my forehead with the heel ofmy shoe than go through the hell known as teen dating again. Or adultdating for that matter.

Nostalgia for lost youth quickly turns to nausea when I remember the various trauma filled nights of my youth. For some reason we alwaysremember the nights that were great, not the ones that made you want to jump off of a tall building or shoot up a fast food restaurant.

To qualify some of this let me say that I didn’t spend my entire youth wallowing in misery. Just some of it, and that part usually involveddating. The going out part was fun – it was the ritual of dating thatcomplicated things. Murphy’s Law definitely applies to dating, because ifit CAN go wrong, it WILL and always when you’re with the girl that you never thought you’d get a date with. Murphy will rear his obnoxious headand assure that you will never get that second date.

For instance, there is the inevitable Mysteriously Appearing Pimple. Youknow, the one about the size and color of a marischino cherry that appears from nowhere the morning of your Big Date and gleefully plants itself right in the middle of your forehead. These are known by the scientificname of the Greater or Giant Zit. They are usually accompanied by smallerpimples. These are generally slightly less neon red than the Greater Zitand appear in small herds. They are known by their scientific name as theLesser Zit. If you have ever had any doubt that Nature has a sense ofhumor, look in the mirror on the morning of The Biggest Night Of Your Life.

And then, for us males, there is the absolute certainty that you will somehow humiliate yourself at least once before the night is safely over.

Nothing, nothing in life is as humiliating as realizing that your fly has been WAY down for the majority of the evening. Except perhaps theHanging Nose Thing that nobody told you about all night and you only discovered when you went to check on the progress of the Greater Zit in the mirror.

When I was a teen-ager the tiny spray bottles of breath spray were common, and you spent part of each evening trying to figure out how you were going to get it out of your pocket and spray it into your mouth without your date or anyone else seeing you, especially your friends, who would miss no opportunity to publicly torture you.

On one particular date I got this stuff out of my pocket while she went to the bathroom and seeing an opportunity, quickly sprayed a burst into my mouth. Except that it didn’t go into my mouth, it went straight into myright eye which immediately turned the same shade of neon red as the Greater Zit and began to weep uncontrollably. It gradually swelled shut,assuring my own special place in Teen Hell for the remainder of the night.

That was an early evening, and I never got a second date from her. Can’timagine why.

And then there was the eternal cash problem. The problem being, I didn’thave any. Nor did most of my friends, so borrowing cash was usually out ofthe question. And in those days it was a huge embarrassment if the girlpaid for anything and anybody found out about it. Which they always didbecause she would tell her friends, who then employed the female jungle drum that all women use to notify everybody in the Free World that you are broke. It’s hard to have free cash when you have a Clearasil and Binacaexpense to deal with.

So, no, I wouldn’t want a repeat of those times unless I could keep my 40- something brain and have large amounts of ready cash to see me through the rough spots. Go ahead, call me cynical. I can take it.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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